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5 Ways to Attract Shoppers for the Holidays—and Beyond

5 Ways to Attract Shoppers for the Holidays—and Beyond

By Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
Published: December 14, 2012


Do you think it’s too late to attract holiday shoppers into your business? Whether you’re a retailer, a restaurant or a service provider such as a spa or hair salon, there are still plenty of holiday dollars to be had. The spending doesn’t stop after Christmas, either—consumers with gift cards or gift cash in their pockets are out in droves, eager to treat themselves, celebrate and splurge. How can you attract customers to your business for the holidays? Try these tactics.

1.      Focus on existing customers. Instead of putting all your effort into attracting more new customers, put most of your effort into getting existing customers to buy more. Current customers are already in the mood to buy from your business—all they need is a nudge. Reach out to your current customer list via email, direct mail or even phone calls with enticing offers to get them into your store, restaurant or establishment. When customers make a purchase, give them a coupon good for a dollar or percentage amount off the next purchase—but make it a limited-time offer, such as a week or 10 days.

2.      Put it on display. If your business depends on foot traffic, such as in a mall or a downtown shopping area, the importance of signage and window displays in attracting customers inside can’t be overestimated. Use sidewalk signs to announce specials, sales or deals inside. Make sure your store windows convey all the goodies you have to offer, while still offering a good view inside the establishment. Put holiday lights and décor up outside, if zoning regulations allow. Consider having a salesperson offer free samples, or have someone selling impulse buys at a small gift table outside your shop’s door (zoning permitting of course).

3.      Create a festive atmosphere. Sights, smells and sounds attract shoppers at the holidays, and these tactile dimensions are what separate in-store shopping from clicking through a website. Make sure your store feels inviting, with holiday music playing, evocative but not overpowering scents, and décor that conveys your business’s brand (whether that’s Currier and Ives cozy and traditional, or Crate and Barrel sleek and modern). You could even have your employees (if appropriate to your image) dress in red and green, or wear Santa hats or sleigh bells, so they stand out from the crowd.  

4.      Know your stuff. “Showrooming,” or the trend of consumers using smartphones to search for better prices on items they’re perusing in stores, sounds scary, but there are ways to deter it. Knowledge is power, so make sure your salespeople have as much knowledge about your products as possible. Alert your sales associates to watch for showrooming behavior and, when they see customers looking at their phones, cheerfully approach and offer to answer any questions they may have about the product. Point out the benefits of buying from you, such as being able to get the item now instead of waiting for it to arrive by mail, store warranties or any other benefits you can think of.

5.      Use the right marketing messages. It’s not hard to get people to ease up on the purse strings this time of year—if you take the right approach. What marketing messages resonate at the holidays? Attract consumers who’ve been spending, spending, spending on friends and family with marketing messages that encourage them to treat themselves. Appeal to frazzled moms by urging them to take time out to relax and renew their spirits. Get just about everyone to open their wallets with marketing messages about making memories and enjoying family togetherness.

Try these marketing tactics, and watch your business profit from the holiday spirit.

About the Author:

Rieva Lesonsky
Rieva Lesonsky

Guest Blogger

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at and visit to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She's been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades